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Headline: Happier Hardwood Floors

Tips for cleaning your beautiful hardwood floors and keeping them looking great.

Hardwood floors make for a beautiful, stunning addition to your home. However, they can bring new cleaning and maintenance challenges that aren’t present with carpet. Here are some tips for simple, efficient, and thorough hardwood floor cleaning.

Make the job easier
Place mats on either side of your exterior doors and always remove your shoes before entering your home—and make sure your guests do the same. Protect the floors by placing felt (or similar) protectors on the feet of your furniture, and use area rugs to designate play areas for the kids. This will reduce extra dirt, dust, and floor scratches.

Weekly cleaning
Sweeping with a standard broom will remove some dirt and dust, but not as much as a mop, wipe, or broom that’s been treated with a dusting agent such as a Swiffer. You could also invest in a vacuum that is designed for hardwood floors. Just be sure that the vacuum won’t leave scratches!

Deeper cleaning
Regular sweeping will remove most dirt and dust, but occasionally you’ll need to give the floors a deeper cleaning to remove the dirt and grime that builds up in your floors’ seams. Use a wood-cleaning soap to thoroughly mop your floors, but make sure the mop isn’t sopping wet—you don’t want to leave standing water.

Spots and scuffs
Most of the marks that occasionally show up on your floors, such as scuffs from rubber soles on boots and shoes—can be wiped away with a rag or very fine steel wool.


Headline: Five tips for selling your home in a hurry

There are a lot of factors that will determine how quickly your house is sold, and it’s important to tackle the factors you can control. If you’re still living in your home while trying to sell it, these are a few simple ideas that can help speed up the home sale process.

 1. De-clutter: Buyers want to step into a prospective home and imagine the possibilities. That’s a lot easier to do when a space is airy and clutter-free. Get rid of the clutter that’s just taking up space in your home, and it can totally transform how a buyer sees the property.

 2. Offer an incentive: Don’t break the bank for add-ons that don’t make financial sense in the long run, but there are some reasonable expenses you can use to entice buyers, such as offering a home warranty.

 3. Focus on flow: Now that you’re working toward a new home, it’s important to position your furniture for easy movement through the space, rather than how you personally like it arranged. Position your furniture so that it’s natural to flow from one room to the next.

 4. Take care of your to-do list: There’s probably a list of small repairs that you’ve been putting off for a while, like fixing a dripping faucet or touching up paint on some walls. Make those repairs so that the home is more move-in ready for buyers.

 5. Commit to cleanliness: Just like removing clutter, keeping your place clean can go a long way toward appealing to buyers. It’s especially true in the kitchen—no dishes in the sink or coffee rings on the countertops!


Headline: Don’t forget about homeowner tax breaks

A New Year means tax season is right around the corner. One of the many perks of homeownership is big tax breaks. So whether you’re doing your taxes yourself or getting help from a professional, it’s important to take advantage of those breaks!

Mortgage Interest Deduction: Before buying a home, a standard deduction may have made the most sense when you prepared your taxes. But homeowners can deduct the interest portion of their mortgage payments, and the earlier you are in your mortgage, the greater the percentage of each payment that goes toward interest, so take advantage right away!

Home Office: There are specific criteria that have to be met in order to deduct home office expenses, but it can lead to a very large deduction. In general, your home office has to be used specifically for business purposes. Check with a tax professional to see if your home office qualifies for a deduction—it’s a little extra work, but can make a big difference in your tax responsibility.


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